First career medal for Audrey Phaneuf & first-ever gold for François Hamelin at World Cup Short Track in Nagoya, Japan

Nagoya, Japan, December 6, 2015 – The Canadian short track speed skating team collected five medals, Sunday, on the last day of the ISU World Cup held in Nagoya, Japan, to finish the competition with a total of eight podium results.

Sunday, François Hamelin won his first-ever gold medal in an individual World Cup event and Audrey Phaneuf collected bronze to earn her first career medal at a World Cup, both in the 500m distance. Marianne St-Gelais extended her streak of individual podium finishes to six in as many events so far this season by coming up with silver in the women's 1000m, while the men's and women's relay teams each won bronze.

The Canadian team now has a total of 24 medals since the start of the 2015-2016 season, after three World Cup stages. Saturday, Charles Hamelin won gold and his brother François earned bronze in the 500m (1) event, while Marianne St-Gelais was third in the women's 500m.

François Hamelin of Sainte-Julie, QC, came up with another first-rate performance on Sunday, as he finished first in the 500m (2). After a great start, Hamelin skated in front from start to finish to finish ahead of Russia's Artem Kozlov and China's Chen Guang.

“It was a perfect day. It's not often that I can say that, but it was the case for all my races today, they were all perfect,” said François Hamelin. “I was able to get a clear advantage on the other skaters at the start. And after that I just went for it, gave it my all and I was never in danger throughout the race. I'm really happy and I will savour this!”

This is François Hamelin's first-ever gold medal in an individual World Cup race. He made his debut on the senior international scene in 2007-2008.

“This is a great reward after all the work I've put in,” added François Hamelin, who won an Olympic medal at the 2010 Games and also skated at the Sochi Olympics. “I've always believed I could get to this level and that I had the potential. But for reasons that I can't quite grasp, there was always a blockage. Today, there wasn't any, and I'm really happy and proud of myself.”

This is François Hamelin's third medal this season. The skater who will turn 29 years of age on December 18 also won bronze in the 1500m at the Toronto stage last month. This is already his best-ever individual medal tally over a season, after winning two medals in 2010-2011.

First career medal for Audrey Phaneuf
Audrey Phaneuf of Saint-Hyacinthe, QC, a 19-year-old skater who was taking part in her sixth career World Cup, won her first career individual medal on the senior international scene, i.e. bronze in the 500m (2).

Phaneuf took advantage of a penalty to South Korea's Shim Suk Hee, after the latter overtook her, to step on the podium. China's Fan Kexin and Germany's Anna Seidel respectively won gold and silver.
“It was a very fun and exciting day today. I'm quite happy,” said Audrey Phaneuf, who won a silver medal in the 500m at last season's World Junior Championships. “I came up with the second-best time in qualifying and I knew I had a chance. I skated with confidence, but I was also a little bit tense because I know I'm young and I don't have much experience. Today was a big step!”

The medals keep adding up for Marianne St-Gelais
Three-time Olympic medalist Marianne St-Gelais, of Saint-Félicien, QC, continued to build on her phenomenal start to the season by winning her sixth individual medal in six races so far this World Cup season. Sunday, St-Gelais won her second silver medal of the season in a 1000m event.
St-Gelais found a spot between South Korean skaters Choi Minjeong, who won gold, and Kim Alang, who earned bronze.

“I had a strong semifinal to skate in, and I think I was more tense there than I was in the final due to the presence of Choi and Russian skater Sofia Prosvirnova,” explained St-Gelais. “But I finished in second place and I was confident for the final, and I knew what Choi was going to do. I wanted to reduce the margin between her and me and avoid falling into the trap she had set up for me in Montreal. I overtook on the outside and tried to catch up to the Korean, but she's very strong. I will need to adjust something technically to be able to better accelerate. I had strong legs again today and the margin was reduced, which is what I wanted. Next time, I will overtake her.”

Two medals in the relay
Canada ended the competition by coming up with two more podium finishes in the relay races, where both the Canadian men and women collected bronze.

On the men's side, the Canadian team comprised of François Hamelin, Charle Cournoyer of Boucherville, QC, Samuel Girard of Ferland-et-Boilleau, QC, and Patrick Duffy of Oakville, ON, won bronze in an exciting final where Canada as well as the Netherlands and China, who respectively won gold and silver, traded spots in front during the last lap.

Pascal Dion of Montreal (Rivière-des-Prairies – Pointe-aux-Trembles borough), QC, who skated in the previous relay rounds as did Charles Hamelin, will therefore come away from his first-ever World Cup with his first career World Cup medal.

Dion also reached one of his goals by earning a spot in the B final of the 500m (2), although that race was not held because there was an insufficient number of skaters due to numerous penalties. Dion finished seventh in overall final standings in that event.

On the women's side, Marianne St-Gelais, Audrey Phaneuf, Valérie Maltais of La Baie, QC, and Kasandra Bradette of Saint-Félicien, QC, also finished third. South Korea won gold and China collected silver. Kim Boutin of Sherbrooke, QC, and Namasthée Harris-Gauthier of Montreal (Rosemont - La Petite-Patrie borough), QC, also skated in the relay over the weekend.

In the men's 1000m, Charles Hamelin of Sainte-Julie, QC, was the fourth Canadian skater on Sunday to skate in a A final. Hamelin was penalized, however, when he tried to overtake Freek van der Wart of the Netherlands.

“My semifinal was like a final with the presence of Russian skaters Semen Elistratov and Dmitry Migunov, as well as Sjinkie Knegt of the Netherlands. It was a big race where I was able to finish second,” pointed out Charles Hamelin. “In the final, I was calm, but I wasn't able to position myself like I would have liked to. I tried to overtake with three laps to go and the Dutch skater made contact with me, but I knew I could be disqualified. I should have been more patient before trying to overtake.”

“Also, I slightly injured my groin on Saturday during the 500m and I wanted to skate while trying to avoid making it worse,” added Charles Hamelin, thus explaining why he didn't skate in Sunday's relay, wanting to give his leg a rest ahead of the fourth World Cup stage set to take place in Shanghai, China, where the Canadian team will skate December 11-13.

TODAY'S CANADIAN RESULTS:

500m (2) M
-François Hamelin: gold medal (final ranking: 1)
-Pascal Dion: B final (final ranking: 7)
-Patrick Duffy: 3rd in the quarterfinals and eliminated (final ranking: 10)

1000m W
-Marianne St-Gelais: silver medal (final ranking: 2)
-Namasthée Harris-Gauthier: 5th in the quarterfinals and eliminated (final ranking: 18)
-Kasandra Bradette: 6th in the quarterfinals and eliminated (final ranking: 20)

500m (2) W
-Audrey Phaneuf: bronze medal (final ranking: 3)
-Valérie Maltais: 3rd in the quarterfinals and eliminated (final ranking: 9)
-Kim Boutin: 3rd in the quarterfinals and eliminated (final ranking: 10)

Relay M
-Canada: bronze medal
(Charles Hamelin, Samuel Girard, Patrick Duffy, François Hamelin, Pascal Dion, Charle Cournoyer)

Relay W
-Canada: bronze medal
(Marianne St-Gelais, Valérie Maltais, Kim Boutin, Kasandra Bradette, Audrey Phaneuf, Namasthée Harris-Gauthier)

1000m M
-Charles Hamelin: penality in the A final (final ranking: 4)
-Samuel Girard: 5th in the quarterfinals and eliminated (final ranking: 17)
-Charle Cournoyer: penalty in the quarterfinals and eliminated (final ranking: 19)

More information is available at Speed Skating Canada’s website: www.speedskating.ca.
 
About Speed Skating Canada
Speed Skating Canada (SSC) is the governing body for competitive long track and short track speed skating in Canada. Founded in 1887, the association is comprised of 13 provincial and territorial branches representing more than 14,000 individual members, and counting. SSC believes that sport is an apprenticeship for life and prizes respect for others, integrity, excellence of effort, as well as a safe, healthy environment. SSC recognizes and values its outstanding volunteers who give freely of their time and expertise. It also celebrates the 63 Olympic medals won by Canadian athletes since 1932, as well as the coaches, officials and other dedicated individuals who helped them on their journey.

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For information:
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Email: pgodbout@speedskating.ca
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